DWP: Touchbase – 18 June 2021

Roundup of recent DWP announcements

Coronavirus roadmap update

This week the Prime Minister gave a press conference where he announced a 4-week pause at Step 3 of the roadmap – his statement is available on GOV.UK.

Step 3 restrictions remain in place. It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced. The government will continue to monitor the data and the move to Step 4 will be confirmed one week in advance.

However, some restrictions will change on 21 June. From 21 June, there will be changes to the rules on:

•            weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions or civil partnership celebrations

•            commemorative events following a death such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering

•            large events pilots

•            care home visits

•            domestic residential visits for children

Different guidance applies to Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) update 

We are reintroducing Claimant Commitments (CCs) and Action Plans (APs) for all ESA claimants in a phased approach. Work coaches continue to work with claimants to ensure that CCs and APs are reasonable and tailored for their circumstances, allowing them to continue to adhere to COVID-19 public health advice, whilst also considering how they can engage with the labour market or move closer to work.

For all new claims to New Style ESA, processed from 26 April 2021, claimants will be required to have an appointment with a work coach and agree a CC before they can receive New Style ESA.

For New Style ESA claims processed prior to 26 April 2021, the requirement for an agreed CC and for ESA legacy claimants an AP, will be introduced gradually from 28 June 2021. We will contact claimants to arrange an appointment with a work coach and agree a Claimant Commitment or Action Plan.

Pension Credit Day of Action

We want eligible older people to proactively claim Pension Credit, therefore earlier this week, on Wednesday 16 June, DWP, Age UK and the BBC collaborated for a Pension Credit Day of Action.

Pension Credit is an important benefit for people who have reached State Pension age, primarily because it acts as a gateway to many other benefits such as: a free TV licence if also over 75, help with Council Tax, help with rent and a Cold Weather Payment.

Pension Credit toolkit: advice and guidance for stakeholders

EU Settlement Scheme

From 1 July 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme will need to evidence their rights in the UK with their immigration status, for example to work. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who have applied for a UK visa (including permission to stay) using the ID Check app or by visiting a Visa Application Centre are also granted an immigration status.

The Home Office has published a new guide for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens on viewing and proving their immigration status (eVisa). It explains how people can view and prove their immigration status, update their details, what they should expect when crossing the UK border and how to get help accessing their immigration status.

It is important that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members keep their personal details up to date and inform the Home Office if their travel document changes, using the View and Prove service.

Home Office colleagues would be grateful if you share the guide with your networks and direct EU, EEA and Swiss citizens to it for more information.

Own Your Home campaign

A new campaign targets first time buyers to help provide a greater awareness and understanding of the government home ownership schemes to help them own their own home.

The list of the help available includes the new and growing First Homes scheme, the mortgage guarantee scheme, Help to Buy: Equity Loans, Shared Ownership, Stamp Duty relief and Right to Buy for council tenants.